Death and Offense

There are bad, and I mean truly bad, things that happen. As Judge Kopf put it, sometimes bad things happen to good people, and it can’t be helped. But this could have been helped. It never should have happened. It never should have been possible. Yet it was and it did.

It was before dawn on Nov. 27, 2001, and Termaine Joseph Hicks was at the wrong place at precisely the wrong time.

A woman had been pistol-whipped, dragged into an alleyway behind what was then St. Agnes Hospital in South Philadelphia, and raped — until the rapist was startled and fled the scene. Hicks heard her screams and rushed to help. But, seconds later, police officers arrived, took him for the rapist and shot him three times. Hicks survived, but was charged with the rape and sentenced to 12½ to 25 years in prison.

On Wednesday, after 19 years’ incarceration, Hicks, 45, was, at last, exonerated.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner exonerated Hicks. Hicks? Mr. Hicks. Sir Hicks. You deserve more respect than words allow for what you did and suffered. You tried to help a woman being beaten and raped, and for your kindness, the cops shot you and then framed you, stealing 19 years of your innocent life.

Aside from this story needing to be told, and Mr. Hicks deserving more than I can offer here, I bring this up for another reason.

Termaine Joseph Hicks suffered. He was shot. He was wrongfully convicted. He lost 19 years of his life. That is suffering.

Someone told a joke that, with a little searching, whining and opportune twisting, hurt your feelings? And that offended you. And that offended you so much that you had to call it out. And that offended you so much that you were outraged, that you were traumatized, that you demand “justice.”

What the fuck is wrong with you people? Worry about Mr. Hicks. Stop obsessing about your own narcissistic puny obsession with finding reasons to play the victim. You’re not victim. Words may be unpleasant, but they sure as shit didn’t hurt as much as the bullets that lodged in Mr. Hicks’ body. And your trauma, likely more facile self-delusion than reality, surely won’t cost you 19 years of your life.

And why are so many of you acquiescing to this nonsense? You tiptoe around minefields of offense to avoid saying any word that might generate some gymnastic claim of offense, because Cicero once farted and therefore a word is sexist. By doing this, you encourage, if not empower, those delicate flowers who fell below the reasonable person standard that law putatively honored for centuries in order to not make the most easily offended person the bar by which society would be judged.

You want a victim? Mr. Hicks is a victim.

You, dear delicate-eared hearer of a joke that only by the most labored attenuation can be claimed offensive, are not a victim. Did someone say “master,” as in potter or bater, and it made you cry? If so, you’re mentally unstable, but more likely it did no such thing and you’re lying for the cause, to prove your goodness and virtue. Imagine, a generation of liars to prove virtue?

There are people out there, real people, human beings, some black, some white, some green, some male, some female, some whatever they want to be, who suffer actual harm, real harm, like being pistol-whipped and raped, or being shot and imprisoned, and they didn’t have to go looking for problems to suffer.

You, you entitled little shit, search desperately for a reason to claim the mantle of victim. Enough with that bullshit. Every time you want to pretend you’ve been offended, think of what Mr. Hicks went through, and will still go through, and thank your lucky stars you’re not him, because you could have been. But for Larry Krasner exonerating him, Mr. Hicks would have died in prison. If you’ve never had to spend a day in prison as an innocent person, then shut up and stop whining.

23 thoughts on “Death and Offense

  1. Bob S.

    This is a pet sentiment of mine around the Twitters. At the risk of sounding jaded, insensitive, and typically blue collar male, “None of these pussies has ever taken apart a machine so they could hand a body part back to an ambulance crew” or similar.

    I’m sure they genuinely feel like they are hurt, but they don’t know what hurt is. Fuck ’em.

    1. SHG Post author

      I like to work with my hands, as an offset to my lawyerly nonsense, and see something I did or made at the end of the day. Often, someone will ask me what happened and tell me I’m bleeding. Yes, actually do something and you sometimes bleed. You get over it.

      1. Mike

        Every single woman I’ve gotten close enough to that they would confide in me has a story of sexual assault. We hear it’s one in four; I think it’s higher. And you guys think having gotten a cut while working on a machine makes you tough enough to perpetuate and justify language that demeans women as weak.

        Yes, it’s a fucking problem. Just like it’s a fucking problem that people called black people “thugs” because that meant white people didn’t need to care about wrongfully convicted men like Mr. Hicks, because if he didn’t do that then surely he did something else wrong.

        There are people who are oversensitive to words, sure. But that’s not nearly as big a problem as the people who don’t give a shit about the harm and violence their words justify and perpetuate.

        1. Mike's Mommy

          I bet you’ve had billions of women, all Canadian, all of whom were beaten over the head and raped in dark alleys, person named Mike, because you’re so brave yet sensitive. Do you whining pieces of shit begin to grasp how ridiculous and worthless your bullshit comes off to grown ups?

          And I’m sure your girlfriends were deeply hurt by their “sexual assault” when they got drunk and naked, but their date went a little further than they decided they wanted them to go the next day. Grow up, little fella.

          1. Mike

            Congratulations, Scott, on your fellow-travelers here. I’m sure they make you proud as they minimize and excuse rape across the country.

            1. SHG Post author

              Nobody is minimizing rape, Mike, nor excusing rape nor even saying it’s fine to call black guys “thugs.” That’s the part you’re incapable of grasping. You bought the bullshit and can’t distinguish reality from whatever bullshit you’re told to believe.

              Has it even occurred to you that your former girlfriends are still telling sexual assault stories, but this time you’re the rapist? Do you not grasp that there are real harms and the fantasy you wrap yourself in to pretend you’re super duper virtuous? Mr. Hicks didn’t get to have girlfriends confide in him, Mike. Tell me more of your sad stories of your girlfriends.

            2. Skink

              Mike, I know how you feel. I really do. A story.

              My wife recently made me go to a seminar about plants. It might have been about flowers. I don’t know. What do I know about plants or flowers? They get stuck in the ground and they grow. If they don’t, then there’s a bunch more at the nursery over the wall behind my house.

              So the seminar had question-and-answer. Like I said, I don’t know about plants or flowers, but I know space aliens. I started to tell the folks about the space aliens and even included that some look like flowers. Surely they’d get how the two were like the same thing.

              Nope. They just stared at me. Some made some kind of noise that sounded like a burp-fart mix. I continued, I really could talk about space aliens all night, but they said I wasn’t keeping with the subject. Imagine that–they really thought space aliens have nothing to do with flowers, or plants. Oh, well, their loss.

              Mike, did you ever think, like in any way, that a discussion about damage done by a wrongful rape conviction compared to everyday whining by middling assholes might not be about rape statistics?

        2. Rengit

          I bet the actual statistics are higher than one in four; in fact, it’s probably three in one. There are more rapists in the world than there are women. It’s violence and harm if anyone challenges this hypothesis. This is what real allyship means.

          1. SHG Post author

            The old axiom was “everyone’s the hero of their own story.” Now, everyone’s the victim of their own story. It’s pretty much the same thing.

            1. Rengit

              Failing that, claim empathy for someone else’s victimhood, state how much it anguishes you, how much it pains you, how you’ll never understand what it’s like, but just keep trying, just keep believing, just keep listening, just keep supporting, there is still so much work left to do. And that people who don’t profess these things are selfish regressives who should have no place in society or the economy.

  2. Drew Conlin

    From time to time I read of similar situations, someone wrongfully convicted _ an obscene outcome.
    What gets me is how often the victims of this wrongness are not outwardly bitter…. I confess it bewilders me.

  3. Hal

    Someone, I wish I could recall whom so that I could give them credit, pointed out that if we were more concerned w/ the character of our children than w/ their self esteem, we’d raise better kids. I’m convinced they were on to something.

    1. SHG Post author

      Self-esteem is fine. Unwarranted self-esteem, not so much. Either way, the lack of character is deeply troubling. Worse still, they will deny it and fight it to their last breathe. They just can’t believe they’re not special.

  4. Anthony Kehoe

    Two of my all-time favourite movies are The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. I don’t watch them much because while they are great movies, what happens to the protagonists is hard to stomach since they are both innocent men put through the worst of what prison does to people. Termaine Hicks was well and truly put through the absolute wringer for 19 years and will probably never fully recover from it. In truth, there’s really no compensating for that life. As you said, Scott, people revel in their victim-hood without ever coming close to what real horror is.

    A Merry Christmas to Mr. Hicks and his family. He deserves it.

  5. Steve King

    I remember the case of Gary Dotson.

    I hope Mr. Hicks has a really good lawyer and that those responsible pay and pay dearly. I hope he has a good life from now on.

    As one SF writer put it: “I may not believe in Heaven, but I really hope there is a Hell.”

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